AAA saw the number of emergency roadside calls for battery service jump more than 60% in January compared to January of 2020, before the lockdown, before work from home, and before other changes in driver behavior that have since increased the risk of a breakdown.

“Vehicles are sitting idle for longer periods of time and motorists have been neglecting basic vehicle maintenance, a combination that has increased the likelihood of a dead battery,” says Cathy Rossi, spokesperson for AAA. “Now, as winter weather takes its toll, AAA is seeing call volume soar.”

Car Care is Critical

AAA is reminding drivers that becoming stranded roadside in winter weather may be more than just an inconvenience. In extreme conditions, motorists and their passengers are at increased risk. With that in mind, AAA is urging all vehicle owners not to neglect basic car care.

The AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel Center, or any AAA Approved Auto Repair facility can provide a free bumper-to-bumper health inspection to ensure your vehicle is winter road ready.

Battery Warning Signs:

  1. The starter motor cranks the engine slowly
  2. Battery/Charging warning lamp illuminates on the dashboard
  3. In older models, dim incandescent headlights, particularly when the car is idling, indicates a weak battery.

The average car battery lasts 3-5 years. Not every failing battery reveals itself through obvious symptoms so take precautions to avoid a dead battery situation. 

AAA Offers Five Tips for Battery Care and Service

  1. Start your engines – Even if you are not driving to work or going out every day, make sure you start your vehicle once every few days to ensure the battery has a strong charge
  2. Keep your battery clean – Periodically pop the hood and look for corrosion on the battery terminals. If you see any, clean it off with a small, stiff brush and a solution of baking soda and water. After removing the corrosion, rinse the battery with water.
  3. Check to make sure the terminal connections aren’t loose – If they are, tighten with a wrench.
  4. Get a Battery Check Up – Before hitting the road, basic vehicle maintenance should include a battery check, available for free at any AAA Approved Auto Repair or any AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel Center. Testing equipment today can often give you a good sense of how much life a battery has left.
  5. Call for FREE AAA Mobile Car Battery Service at your home or place of business – Members can call AAA at any time for a free, contactless, battery checkup and, if need be, AAA will install a new battery on the spot when service times allow.

Help Wanted

“Our people are our most valuable asset, this role is critical since our members count on AAA regardless of the circumstances – in a pandemic, in the cold of winter, over a holiday weekend,” Rossi says. “It is always our intention and our top priority to have skilled technicians on hand to answer that call as quickly as possible to ensure everyone’s safety”.

With that in mind, AAA continues to hold recruitment events and offer paid training and bonus incentives to qualified candidates. Visit for more information.

Pack a Winter Emergency Kit to Protect Yourself – and Your Passengers

AAA research indicates that 40% of motorists do not have emergency kits in their vehicles.

A winter emergency kit should include:

  • Mobile phone pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers, including family and emergency services, and a phone charger
  • Abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • De-icer
  • Ice scraper with brush
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves), and blankets
  • Warning devices (flares or triangles)
  • Drinking water and non-perishable snacks
  • First-aid kit
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)

Many of the winter emergency items listed above or complete winter emergency kits are available at AAA stores or online at

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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